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Social Media Monitoring is Essential – Unless You’re a Hedgehog

14 October 2013 BY

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If you're a hedgehog, you are already an expert at social media

Social Media is the part of your digital marketing strategy that puts a big, shiny bow on your product and catapults it right under the noses of people who care about it. It’s powerful, it’s funand it’s really exciting.

As well as realising your great ideas, you’ve got to know if they’re actually engaging your audience. You’ll also want to know if you’re targeting your audience at the right time and on the social network that your audience use the most.

I hate to be that guy, but somebody has to be that guy:  The only way to find out if your social media strategy is actually working is to monitor your campaigns regularly. It isn’t about sucking the fun out of your creativity, analysing your efforts will show you where your strategies are actually paying off. Literally.

Campaigns are Great, Monitoring is Better

social media monitoring is the bestWhen a new client approaches me with a social media campaign request and a budget – I work around that brief, make recommendations and go back to them with a proposal designed to knock their proverbial (or literal) socks off. We can trim the fat to make it more affordable, we can adapt it to make it more achievable but there is one thing I never, ever, ever trim off – and that’s the need for Social Media Monitoring every week.

Why is social monitoring so Important

Monitoring your social media campaigns every day and reporting every week is essential for a number of reasons:

 

1. Growth tracking

Your number of followers across your social networks is not a metric I place much stock in; however it does contribute to your day to day monitoring as part of an overall growth tracking that encompasses other things, such as, social reach, the number of people who engaged and shared your post, the questions people asked and how they responded to your answers.

follower growth

This is social influence in its raw form, without the restrictions influence tools give us. Obviously, the bigger the brand – the harder this is to track – however it’s not impossible. I recommend a sentiment, mention, follower growth, reach and influence spread sheet to give you a break down where you need it and an overview when you want it. You can utilise this method whether you have 1,000,000 followers or 20; simply mange the mentions accordingly picking out the ones that are relevant and useful.

sentiment analysis

Why Bother?

Because as much as you like to think you’ve got a handle on how well you are growing, you need to qualify and quantify against your social media budgets – and possibly even for shareholders and stakeholders who are still denying the importance of social media in a marketing strategy.

2. Trend tracking

No, I’m not talking hashtags here – however I see no reason why you shouldn’t be taking part in these trends too.

What I like to do is change the trends, keywords and key phrases I track periodically. Collaborating with the SEO, PPC and Link Building teams as much as possible, I make sure I’m tracking the trends that have great SEO implications – this means I can see ways in which to take advantage of them.

track your trends

However, trend tracking doesn’t stop there, oh no!  Trend tracking is seasonal, topical and by the minute. Social media is reactive; therefore you need to be ahead of the curve as much as possible.

Why Bother?

Monitoring trends will allow you to stay within the nucleus of your market, while providing a report that we can look back on in 12 months’ time and say ‘Hey, remember this time last year? Look how much our market has grown since then; do you think they still like the same things? No? Maybe we should improve!’  Staying stagnant is an antonym of digital marketing in my opinion. Especially true for social. So, monitoring trends definitely reflects the evolutionary nature of social – keeping you ontopic and relevant.

3. Customer service

It doesn’t matter if you have a number of departments, branches, centres – or a sweet shop in the middle of a tiny village in Norfolk; your customers will use your social networks to ask you questions, complain and (hopefully) recommend you. Why? Because they aren’t stupid. Even the traditionalists are using social media these days:

Research shows that in the UK, a third of customers will ask a question via social media avenues before they use other methods. They’re likely to get a quick answer if the complaint is public, they don’t have to rack up a phone bill or wait for a response to an email – all they have to do is type a 140 character (longer for Facebook and Google+ of course) comment and play the waiting game.

bad customer service

Monitoring your social feeds every day is essential for picking up these kinds of comments, and I’m not just talking about the customers who actually Tweet or post directly to you; I’m talking about people who are talking about you, without your prior knowledge on social networks, review sites and blogs.

Why Bother?

Because no brand is bigger than the customers who buy from them; and no social media consultant is truly on the ball without this kind of weekly activity.

Think of it like this: nobody likes to be dissed. Especially on a public arena, so if people are saying negative things about you or your business you want to set the record straight, offer an olive branch if you haven’t met their expectations and generally help people resolve an issue.

Similarly, if someone is saying something wonderfully nice about you publically, you want to know what you’re doing well so you can capitalise on it and weave it into your key brand proposition and unique selling points. So next time you feel your ears burning, check your Twitter feed!

4. Areas for new opportunities, customer acquisition and new markets to target

Whilst you’re doing your trend tracking, you may naturally start to come across articles or subjects you feel are relevant to the market you’re monitoring and to your brand. You may even start to come across familiar faces that constantly retweet, comment and “Like” your stuff and you start to naturally look at your competitors to see what they are up to.

hello worldWhy Bother?

If you want to succeed in the digital world, or even a non-digital world – staying still is never an option. Good marketing looks for ways to create things people want and placing it right in front of them, rather than yelling about things people don’t want. We’ve lived through the age of intrusive advertising, so why continue this outdated practice on social media?

5. Competitor Research

Knowing what your competitors are doing on their social networks is easy to do at a base level; they launch a Christmas campaign – you like it, you learn from it and you track it.

There is a very well-known saying that there is ‘no original content’. Many campaign strategy ideas are born when someone sees something someone else has done and improves it or adjusts it.

However, this is only one advantage of Competitor research; another is the ability to see who follows them and who they follow as these people may be a very relevant audience for you too!

keep an eye on your competitors

Why Bother?

You might be able to offer these potential customers something your competitors aren’t. By checking their customer service techniques via Twitter you will be able to see where they are lacking or excelling and use that data to see how you can improve your customer service.        

6. On-going consultancy.

Give your clients real time recommendationsand on-the-ball advice from inside your customer base is worth its weight in gold for building and maintaining your social media strategy. Working in social media, it’s essential that you’re always improving and strategising as much as is humanly possible. This includes monitoring keywords, trends and taking note of seasons, weather, local, industry and brand news.

Why Bother?

Well, financial implications for your business for one thing. If you come up with a cracking strategy that responds to or predicts a trend then it benefits you because your reputation increases; you’ll see increased brand reach and increased conversion rates so you’ll be winning on all fronts.

Weekly monitoring as part of outreach social media is ESSENTIAL and should naturally form part on-going engagement strategy, without it you’re simply flying blind hoping something works – which don’t get me wrong, has it’s merits if you’re a bit of a social media maverick, a cat riding a motor cycle or a hedgehog wearing sunglasses, I really wouldn’t risk it.

deal with it

Do you agree? Let me know in the comments, tweet me or contact me at receptional.com

AUTHORED BY:
h

Sarah is Head of Social Media for the Bedfordshire-based agency, Receptional. She has worked on a range of Digital Marketing campaigns and is a strong advocate of the use Social Media for the progression of any business. A Welsh rugby fan and an avid Great British Bake off watcher, Sarah loves to Tweet, chat and cuddle cats.
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